How to Tell if Your SEO Writers are Using Black Hat Practices

In the world of search engine optimization, you can wear one of two different hats: white or black. White hat SEO is a blanket term that denotes you play by the rules when it comes to creating compelling, engaging content that’s both useful to its readers and that doesn’t attempt to pull any cunning tricks to get past the search engine algorithms.

Black hat SEO, on the other hand, tends to fight dirty. These methods were dreamed up with the sole intention of getting more clicks out of doing less work, which makes them totally frowned upon by Google and every other major search engine on the web today. So, how can you be on the lookout for the clever tricks black hat SEO experts might utilize? You just have to know which ones to look for.

Article Spinning

To find out if your hired hands are spinning you right round, baby, take a closer look at the content they’re writing. Article spinning means taking one article and rewording it again and again in order to avoid being detected as the same by the search engine algorithms. But though it might beat the machines, it certainly won’t fool your readers — and content marketing has never been higher up on the priorities list than it is in 2014. SEO experts don’t need to spin their content because they can create it. Those are the SEO companies you want handling your online marketing campaigns.


Oh boy, another mash-up term? Yes, splogging is a combination of “spam” and “blogging,” which makes it even less readable than normal poor-quality blog writing. Again, churning out low-quality blog posts that are written as quickly as possible to build up SEO influence in search engines might fly by algorithms, but not by real humans reading it. These splog posts tend to be riddled with back links to other sites, so look out for where your SEO campaign content is actually ending up. Remember, the more cringe-worthy the website, the less good you’re actually doing your website.

Keyword Stuffing

“SEO is important because SEO is the biggest SEO trend in the SEO marketing world today.” Now, does that sentence actually make any sense? Absolutely not, plus it’s got the term “SEO” wedged in four times. But that’s exactly the kind of keyword stuffing that some SEO firms have taken to creating so they can get more traction out of a blog post. Couple keyword stuffing (which makes for borderline unreadable articles, by the way) with spinning and splogging, and you can see why black hat SEO methods are so damaging to a company’s reputation in the search rankings.

Hidden Text and Links

This one isn’t too much of an issue anymore because Google’s become a pro at detecting it. Still, once upon a time, wannabe SEO experts brainstormed the bright idea of planting tons of keywords in the background of a webpage but making them the same color as the background itself. That meant no one could tell they were there — except the search algorithms, of course. Luckily, this practice died out pretty quickly once Google caught wind of it, though the uninitiated may still attempt to pass it off as fresh content. Always highlight the page to see any hidden text lying in wait.